Last November 23, 2010, I was extended an invitation to attend the formal opening of a breastfeeding photo exhibit entitled "SPOTTED: Mommy, Mama, Inay and Me" at the SM Mall of Asia.
The four-day exhibit (will run till the 26th) is presented as a joint program on Children Food Security and Nutrition of the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund or MDG-F together with the Department of Health-National Nutrition Council. The MDG-F joint program also called MDG-F 2030: Ensuring Food Security and Nutrition for Children 0-24 Months Old," aims to increase exclusive breastfeeding rate in the country by 20% annually. This endeavor is also made possible in partnership with SM Cares, LATCH Inc., Breastfeeding Patrol of Mandaluyong City and the School of Design and Arts of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde.
The photo exhibit showcases mothers breastfeeding their children in various locations and situations, demonstrating that breastfeeding is part of everyday life. The exhibit aims to communicate the idea that a mother can breastfeed her child anywhere and anytime, and highlights the supportive environment moms need to help ensure that their children receive proper nutrition. It presents breastfeeding as a natural, normative, positive and healthy part of everyday life at home, in the community, and in the workplace.
While listening to keynote speakers, I could not help but gaze around the big photos and I felt a certain pride. Truly, I consider that particular event a milestone. The fact that breastfeeding is being publicly supported, promoted and protected is already a stepping stone towards acceptance of a growing breastfeeding culture in the country.
My little Miguel is now three years old and had been exclusively breastfed for six months. Thereafter, he was given complementary food with continued breastfeeding up until he was 1 year and 6 months old.
I am so pleased to know that SM Supermalls is being part of this great initiative. I am most exhilarated by the fact that SM Mall of Asia has been a great part of my bonding experience with my little boy. When I had Miguel, the only mall that my husband and I could go to was MoA for they had a breastfeeding station. I always felt so calm when we were out malling at MoA for I knew that when my little angel needs me to feed him, I could always find our way to the breastfeeding station. It was not so long ago that people would look down at you just because they saw you breastfeeding your baby in public. That time, I could not care less. But great thanks to this mall, I did not have to endure those kind of stares.
I enjoin other moms to support this wonderful advocacy event. It is not only for us moms but also for our babies. "As the standard for feeding a newborn, breast milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs, and protects the mother's health. It is easily digested and efficiently used by the baby. It also reduces risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, helps the uterus to return to its previous size, and reduces bleeding which helps in preventing anemia," according to Health Assistant Secretary Maria-Bernardita T. Flores, Executive Director of National Nutrition Council.
Flores also empahasize that breastfeeding "is important for the welfare of the mother and the baby, the family, the community, and the nation." Thus, "as a community, we should regard breast-feeding as a norm, where all members of the family would provide support and encouragement to the breastfeeding mom."
Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy experience between a mother and her baby. It is free and that you can breastfeed your baby anytime and anywhere.
About the MDG Achievement Fund
The MDG Achievement Fund is an international cooperation mechanism whose aim is to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) worldwide. Established in December 2006 with a generous contribution of €528 million Euros ($US710M) from the Spanish Government to the United Nations system, the MDG-F supports national governments, local authorities and citizen organizations in their efforts to tackle poverty and inequality.
With 128 active programmes in 49 countries spread across 5 regions of the world, MDG-F is helping over 3.5 million people, with another 20 million people impacted indirectly. For more information on the MDG-F, log on to http://www.mdgfund.org/.
and to Ms. Cindy (right photo, girl in white dress) for the invitation.